Where to start with X-Men…right now?

September 17, 2011 at 6:57 pm (How to Read X-Men) (, , )

Please head over to 4geekreviews.com for the updated list!

We’ll be updating this every month so newbies can always have up to date info. This is a lot to cover, so if ya’ll see something that’s not right, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to patch.

March Edition:

“Is now a good time to start?”

Meh.

Schism finished up a few months back, and was a real game changer, so you might want to go back and see what that was all about. It is the catalyst for some new titles that are started up including the amazing Wolverine and the X-Men, and was the cause of the Uncanny reboot. If you opt to skip Schism, as least be sure to grab the Regenesis 1-shot. It lays out who is going where and why.

Uncanny X-Men

Team book with rock’em sock’em action and big, noisy plots that have all encompassing results. These stories can be a ton of fun, and Uncanny remains the flagship book of the x-verse. Recent arcs include Quarantine (which started Kieron Gillen’s run) Breaking Point , and Uncanny X-Men Fear Itself – all post reboot to #1. If you want to make a clean break of it, and are of a trade persuasion, pre-order Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 and Uncanny X-Men vol. 2.

Roster: The “Blue Team”, but a heavy focus on Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto and Namor, and lately Colossus and Storm.
Jump on with: #5. 3/7 Issue: #8, with #9 – and a new arc coming out 3/21  What’s going on? Conclusion of Tabula Rasa. Go back, or wait until next month

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Carlos Pacheco

Next Jumping on Point: #9

X-Men Legacy

Rogue leads her own little group of X-Men on various adventures. The book itself plays in its own sandbox, and can be read independently. Very character driven, and pretty well done. It’s not as ‘big’ as Uncanny, but often surpasses it in quality for me. If you are all about getting into the development of this band of characters, and can’t get enough drama in your x-tales, this is the book for you. I’m amazingly excited to see where we’re headed with the new roster and direction. Recent arcs include Age of X (Clay Mann & Steve Kurth on art) and Age of X Aftermath and Lost Legions which play nicely into each other. There’s also 5 Miles South of the Universe that was pre-schism.

Roster: Rogue (in the lead), Magneto, Gambit, Frenzy (check out Age of X to see why) Xavier, Legion (Xavier and Legion aren’t in this arc, but have been heavily featured as of late).
Jump on with: #260.1 or 261 3/14 issue #263 What’s going on? Rogue and her personal band of misfits take up residence in the old mansion. I’ve been impressed with how this book plays well with WatXM without losing itself in the process. Cristos Gage is always a good thing, and those Brooks covers are enough reason to buy in their own right.  Overall, just some good old-fashioned x-mening going on right here. This will be the first clash/team-up with Scott’s team, and the rumor is it’s not a good thing.

Writer: Cristos Gage

Art: Koi Pham

Next Jumping on Point: ?

X-Men

This book is the conduit to the rest of the Marvel U. Past stories have crossed over with Blade and Spider-Man. This is a macro level that definitely has its moments and can be a lot  fun. Stand alone, and new user friendly. The line started with Curse of the Mutants (Blade, Medina on art) followed by With Great Power (Spider-Man with Bachalo art)  then First to Last (written by Chris Yost, art Medina), X-Men: FF (should be self-explanitory) and on the pre-order list is X-Men: War Machines. Each stands on its own.

Roster: Anyone is fair game.
Jump on with: #24 3/7 issue: #26  What’s going on? Jubilee – let’s deal with that vampire issues that we started then just kinda let sit there. .
Writer: Victor Gischler
Art: Will Conrad/Molina

Generation Hope Soon to be Cancelled

The mutant messiah (Hope) and the ‘new’ mutants (refered to as lights) discover each other and themselves. This is your teenage x-book, featuring mostly new characters with some regular appearances by the other x-men. Your not too far from the start to go back and begin with vol #1. Vol. 2 and the final volume.

Roster: Hope, Teon (Primal), Gabriel (Velocidad), Laurie (Transonic), Kenji (Zero) and various x-men, and a surprising new recruit…
Jump on with: #13 3/21 issue: #17. What’s going on? Imma go with this is officially the teen book right here. The gang brings back a stray that is rather surprising, and we have love in the air. This book is on it’s way out folks, might as well round out the collection.

Writer: Jason Asmus
Art: Ibraim Roberson

Uncanny X-Force

In my oh so humble opinion (and the opinion of many others), the best x-book out there, and one of the best Marvel is putting out. Period. Wolverine has a new black ops team after Scott had him disband the last one. This one is devoid of teen assassins, and has been non-stop fun. Remender’s ability to cover old stories and characters without making them feel re-rehashed is really impressive. I highly recommend going back and starting at the beginning, but each arc has been new user friendly so far. Also, by far the creepiest Horsemen ever.

Roster-Wolverine, Psylocke, Deadpool, Archangel, Deathlok, Eva & Fantomex.
Now is a good time to start Jump on with #20 but, : Honestly, just go back to #1. It’s worth it. Otherwise, #10 2/22 issue: #22: What’s going on? Part 3 of 4, The Trial of Phantomex. They’ve just finished up a pretty long arc, pt 5&6. It will be released as 2 trades. Dark Angel Saga bk. 1 and Dark Angel Sage bk. 2
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Rodriguez/Grampa

Next Jumping on Point-#24

X-Factor

The estranged cousin of the x-family. You know who we mean, it’s probably you in your family. Sure, they show up every once in awhile for holidays and funerals, but mostly everyone forgets about them. However, this is a great book if you are looking for something that stands completely on its own. You may think you don’t like X-Factor, but if you haven’t read David’s new series (2005) you’re probably wrong. This has nothing to do with any of the past X-Factor runs, and is truly remarkable. The first trade says it-expect the unexpected. Again, I suggest going all the way back to the first trade, or even the Maddrox mini, Multiple Choice (if you can find it) that kicked it off. The most user friendly of all the x-books. You don’t need to know 60 years of back story to jump on this one, and you don’t need to collect any of the other books to keep up with it.

Roster-Madrox (Multiple Man), Guido (Strong Guy), Layla Miller (…butterfly?), Monet (M), Teresa (Siryn/Banshee), Rahne (Wolfsbane)
Writer: Peter David
Art: Emanuella Lupachino (switches off with Leonard Kirk)
Now is a good time to start! Jump on with: #233 3/21 issue #233 What’s going on? –New team, but same direction? It’s looking that way, and the fact that we just in with a story in progress is a good thing in my book. This book didn’t get gutted by the change up with is a great relief.

New Mutants

The classic New Mutants line-up minus Cannonball and Rahne. These guys have been tasked with tying up loose ends the X-Men left in the wind. The new run just got a creative change up with Dan Abbnet and Andy Lanning (D&A) at the helm. They’ve definitely got their own take on it, the fans of it love it, the haters hate. It vacillates a bit too much between the light hearted book to the serious for my taste, but overall a decent book. If you like the team, you’ll like this book.

Roster: Dani Moonstar, Doug Ramsey, Warlock, Karma, Magma, Sunspot and….X-Man?-yup, that’s Nate.
Jump on with #37:  3/21 issue: #39 What’s going on?  Stand alone story with the team trapped on an island…as they begin to ‘change’. Looks to be a Warlock heavy story for those of you that are looking for one.
Writer: Andy Lanning
Art: David Lopez

Next Jumping on Point: ?

Astonishing X-Men

This is a tricky explanation, Astonishing X-Men is in continuity (unlike Ultimate X-Men which is a separate ‘universe’) but does not really beat to the same drum as the of rest of the X-titles. So, if Scott and Emma break up in Astonishing X-Men, they are (eventually) going to be shown as broken up in the rest of the books. It just takes some time for the books to catch up with each other. That said, Astonishing X-Men is more a series of minis than its own x-line. Clear as mud? Okay, well here it is. The new team/story arc starts this month. I will warn you, this title has a history of massive delays, but the last arc did a pretty good job of shipping on time. The last two arcs have been trading off and intermingled. So, pt. 1 of Monstrous was followed by pt. 1 of Inside Pandora’s Box/Children of the Brood and so on and so forth. Probably why they hit the ship dates.

Roster: Anyone could potentially show up, but this month it’s Emma and Danger. Past parties have included Cyclops, Logan, Kitty, Storm (with a mohawk!), Collosus, Beast, Agent Brand, Armor and Lockheed. Not sure if this book is going to stay with the Utopia gang, or switch off teams. Current arc/issue is Scott and Co.
Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Mike McKone
Jump on with: #46 2/29 issue: #47 What’s going on? Yeah! an Alternate Universe story!!! Come, you know you love it. Alternate versions of X-Men and X-Men go together like peanut butter and pickles. Most people hate it, but you know you can’t get enough. Last issue of this arc.

Wolverine and the X-Men

OH MY GOD, HOW MUCH DOES THIS BOOK ROCK?!?!??!?! Start of a brand new (or, old if you really look at it) direction for the x-books. Logan is starting out on his own, with an ideal that is a bit new to him in my opinion. I’m still giving Uncanny X-Force the best x-book award, but this book is a close second and the most fun. You also get a lot of ‘hell yeah!!’ moments for some characters that are due. Definitely pick up Schism and the Regenesis one-shot before you jump on with this. Grab the first volume in trade here.

Jump on with: #1 (DO IT!!) or #5 : 3/14 Issue: #7 What’s Going On?: Logan is trying his hand at Headmastering, and so far it’s been an incredible ride. Fast paced, amusing and fun filled with some new characters that don’t suck, and old characters in character actually be entertaining! This tale is all about Kitty Pryde’s insides. No, seriously.

Roster: Check the Gold Team roster for details.
Writer: JASON AARON!!!!
Artist: Nick Bradshaw

Age of Apocalypse…Ongoing?

Well, it would seem so. I’ll admit it, I’m getting it, but I’m pretty skeptical. If you want to hop in, go back and grab the Dark Angel Saga over in Uncanny X-Force.

Jump on With: #1 3/14 Issue: #1

Roster: Jean Grey, Sabretooth, and a few other AoA faves.

Writer: David Lapham

Artist: Robert De La Torre

Solo X-Books:

Wolverine

Solid. A solidly solid book. Or am I supposed to say ‘legit’ now? Anyhow, one of Marvel’s current best out there. Aaron has been weaving a tale from issue #1 that has been very well done. I’d really recommend going back and grabbing the past few arcs, but you can feel good jumping in at Wolverine’s Revenge. This is another one you won’t regret going back and starting at the beginning. If you dig it, you can pick up all of Jason Aaron’s Wolverine in a sweet little omni. The omni collects all of Aaron’s Wolverine vol. 2 issues as well as Wolverine Weapon X. The currect run of Wolverine (vol. 3) is out in trade.

Roster– Wolverine. Lots of other people make a showing including the x-men.
Jump on with: #300  3/7 issue: #302, 3/21: #303 What’s going on? JAPAN!!!! AMIKA!!!! YUKIO!!!! THE HAND!!!!!   nuff said.

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Adam Kubert – he’s come home!!

Next Jumping on Point: #303

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Renato Guedes (ADAM KUBERT on #300)

There you go. If people ask, I’ll start including Deadpool.

 

Recent X-Minis & One-Shots

Wolverine and the X-Men Alpha & Omega : #3 of #5 out 3/7

Wolverine vs. Kid Omega for the futrue of the Jean Grey Academy! Hell yeah I’m getting this. Brian Wood and Max Brooks on creative duties.  Pre-order the trade from Amazon.

Avengers X-Sanction: CAAAAABBBBBLLLLLLLEEEEEE!!! and he’s going after the Avengers? Final Issue #4 hits 3/21. Grab the trade here.

X-Club – Simon Spurrier, who seems to have become the definitive writer for all things x-club. #4 3/7. Pre-order the trade here.

Schism: Mini-Series to Fracture the X-verse

Humanity is in full hate and fear mode, spurred on by an enemy from the past, and the x-men have to deal with the fallout. This lights the fuse that detonates the Cyclops/Wolverine bromance. After this series, there will be two distinct sides to the x-men, with all 8 x-team books on one or the other. Click through for the breakdown of the new Blue and Gold teams to populate the x-books post-schism (beware, those covers are fairly spoilery). Grab the trade here: Schism .

A superstar team of rotating artists including Carlos Pacheco, Frank Cho, Acuna, Adam Kubert (yay!), Alan Davis and penned by the fantastic Jason Aaron. Definitely more enjoyable for the long time fan, but easy to follow for new readers.

There was also a Prelude to Schism. Personally not my cup of tea. Paul Jenkins will forever have a place in my heart for penning Inhumans, but this 4-part mini with focuses on Xavier, Magneto, Cyclops and Wolverine was just not my thing, and ultimately had nothing to do with the Schism story proper. The AMAZING art by Clay Mann on issue #4 (the Wolverine spotlight) is a highlight worthy of picking up the single issue for sure. Surprise, surprise-it’s the only one you can’t grab at MCS, but keep checking this link to find out when it’s in stock, add it to you wishlist or hit up your local store.

Wolverine: The Best There is

This has had…mixed reviews. At best, it’s a grindhouse awesomely ridiculous run with pretty amazing Ryp art. At worst it’s just a terrible comic. It’s anything but serious, and gory, gory, gory. If that sounds like your thing, go for it. Rumor has it it’s done at #12 currently on #11, so I’ve moved it to minis/limited series. Get the trade (might as well have it all if you are jumping on this late).

Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

Uncanny X-Force: Fear Itself Rob Williams & Simone Bianchi

Fear Itself tie-in for Uncanny X-Force. I have to say it’s pretty. The story hasn’t been enough to convince me to grab it monthly, but I’ll be grabbing it in trade. I’ll get a commentator for this one as well.  Part 3 (the last chapter) is out 9/21. I’ll be grabbing the trade…if it’s collected on it’s own. More likely it’ll be in a Fear Itself collection

One-Shot: Wolverine Debt of Death David Lapham & David Aja

Out 9/7. Ooooooo. Aja.

Also, get Children’s Crusade. Sure there’s only like 2 X-Men in it, but it’s a follow-up to House of M, and awesome. #9 comes out 3/7. Pick up the back issues at MCS or pre-order the trade. What do the Avengers, Magneto, and the Young Avengers all have in common? They are all looking for the Scarlet Witch. But the question is…for what?

X-Men Regenesis one-shot: IMPORTANT!-Deals with the aftermath of Schism and sets the stage for the new books.

Magneto: Not a Hero #1 : Awesome. Just awesome. Read the psuedo review/open love letter to this book here.

 

RIP (Recently Cancelled Titles)

Namor

Daken Dark Wolverine Last Issue #22 3/14 Grab the trades here vol 1, vol 2, vol 3

X-23 Last Issue #21 3/14 Grab the trades here: vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3

FAQs

Q. What books do I have to read to ‘get’ X-Men?

A. All of them or just the ones you want. If you want to know absolutely everything that happens as it happens, get them all. However, considering the shared verse of Marvel, something could happen to an X-character in an Avengers book that changes them forever. It’s just the nature of comics. However, most of the x-books of late do a good job of being understandable all on their own, and covering any important details you may have missed in one of the other books in quick little blurbs at the front of each issue. So, find a creative team or characters you like, and read away!

Q. What about Ultimate X-Men?

A. The Ultimate universe is a completely seperate entity that has nothing to do with other x-books. It shares a universe with other Ultimate titles, but never effects anything in traditional marvel. For instance, several X-Men are dead in the Ultimate Universe, but alive and well in the traditional verse.  Think of it as a massive ‘what if?’ story.

Q. What about X-Men First Class? Is that from the movie?

A. No. It is unrelated to the film and is a re-telling of the old days of X-Men. Those that like it really like it. I’ll be looking for a commentator to give you a better idea of what it’s all about.

Q. Okay, I changed my mind, I want to hit the high notes of the back stories, what should i get?

A. I’ll be working on this list with a few people to get something together for you folks. It’s ready! You can now check out my personal run down of the best (or essential) x-reading for the past decade. There is a simple list as well as a detailed list with copius hand holding.

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